From the November 2016 Desktop News | According to alumna Gloria Narramore Moody, her “love affair” with The University of Alabama’s School of Music began while attending Girl Scouts camp between sixth and seventh grade. She was casually playing the piano—as she so often did—for a group of girls who wanted to sing when a man came up to her and asked for her name and the name of her father. She answered without missing a note, and later found out the man was Dr. Alton O’Steen, the chair of the School of Music in the 1940s and ‘50s.
“He went home, called my father and told him he wanted me to start taking lessons with their new teacher, Roy McAllister,” Moody recalled. “From that day on, my parents sacrificed a lot to take me to The University of Alabama twice a week to study—and we did that all the way through high school and college.”
In the decades that followed, Moody became a skilled performer, a dedicated teacher and an accomplished advocate and philanthropist for the arts, which are just a few of the many reasons that Moody’s friends and family contributed more than $240,000 in her honor to support the School of Music at the University. Following their contributions, The University of Alabama Board of Trustees also named the piano wing of the Frank Moody Music Building the Gloria Narramore Moody Piano Wing.
Narramore credits her late husband, Frank Moody, for her philanthropic work saying, “He helped me to understand that there were ways to express my love for the arts besides performing and teaching—so when those two things were no longer physically practical for me anymore, I began supporting the arts in other ways and got a lot of satisfaction. To have this wing named after me means more than I can express.”
After graduating from the University in 1956, Moody studied privately with Jeaneane Dowis in New York City. She taught piano for many years, and in the 1990s, she established the Gloria Narramore Moody Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps bring some of the worlds’ finest musicians to audiences in Alabama.
For six years, Moody served as the president of the board of directors of the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra, and she has also served as the chair of the Alabama Symphony Board of Directors. Additionally she has been an active member for the Alabama State Council of the Arts, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, The University of Alabama President’s Advisory Board and The University of Alabama President’s Cabinet.
In recognition of her dedication to the arts, Moody has received the Philanthropist of the Year Award from the Alabama Philanthropic Association, The University of Alabama’s Society of the Fine Arts Patron of the Arts Award, the Druid Arts Patron of the Arts Award, the Henry and Julia Tutwiler Award and the Jonnie Dee Little Lifetime Achievement Award.
“Gloria Moody is one of the most honored graduates of this program, having been a tremendous supporter of the arts and specifically music throughout the region, state and nation,” said Charles “Skip” Snead, chair of the School of Music. “It is with great pride that we add her name to a major component of the School of Music program.”
The School of Music is a part of UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest college and the largest liberal arts college in the state. The School of Music has degree programs that range from the undergraduate Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees, through master’s and doctoral degrees in various genres of musical study. There are approximately 400 total students in the program, 80 percent of which are undergraduates. The students are taught by a full-time faculty of 45 with additional part-time faculty members in excess of 60 total. The School has a long tradition of successful graduates playing in symphony orchestras; singing in opera companies; teaching in public schools, colleges and universities across the country; composing music for the new generation; serving as music therapists in many institutions nationwide; managing and directing arts organizations; and conducting cutting-edge research in many fields related to music.